Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orange Cream Star Cookies

Now that I finally know how to pipe (thanks in no small part to this summer's cooking class), I can truly appreciate how such an easy technique can make one's culinary creations go from nice and homemade to beautiful and professional. Until I made this recipe, all the piping I had done was with frosting. But now I can see how piping can make anything look downright fancy.

Orange Cream Stars

This recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine. The cookies have a cream cheese base, incorporating butter, sugar, orange zest, egg yolk, vanilla, and flour (read rich, rich, sweet, flavor, rich, flavor, structure...from all that you know they're good). After preparing the dough, you put it into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. In a similar manner to making decorative stars for cake decorating, you squeeze out these stars right onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. The dough is quite thick, so your hand may be tired by the end. I also ended up with far more than the 36 cookies that the recipe claims, no small feat in my kitchen where somehow a substantial part of every cookie dough never makes it to the oven.

The frosting is a decently standard buttercream with orange juice and zest mixed into it. A dollop of frosting is applied to the underside of each cookie. The end result is a bite-sized marvel. Nearly flawless in shape unlike most drop cookies which can be rather amorphous. The soft buttercream pairs with the crunchy cookie, both of which pack a good orange punch. Maybe it's a good thing this recipe made a boat-load of cookies, because everyone I served them to was picking up a few at a time.

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